Benjamin Britten and
The Nuns of Paoli;
Contemporary American Pottery;
Contemporary American Poetry
Subject: Britten in RALPH:

Yesterday, at the end of the funeral of a aunt of mine who was a nun --- from the choir in the church --- I played the horn solo from Britten's Serenade for Tenor, Horn & String Orchestra.

I've done it in lots of funerals and it really spooks the hell out of people (and me too --- to start up from "0" and hit the right note etc).***

Thought you'd like to know this. My horn is a Viennese-made single F horn (best sound in the world) and they tell me I play it like an archangel.

It made me remember one of my first loves --- a trumpet left by a student on top of the piano in one of the glass cubicles where we had to practice the piano at Saint Aloysius Military Academy, 1943, me age 6 --- the smallest in that boarding school run by nuns in Paoli, Pennsylvania.
***By "0" I mean absolute silence, not a chance to warm up or even hunt around for the right note. Actually what happened this last time (and this is a technical aspect brass players only understand --- these instruments and the horn particularly can produce many notes without regards to the fingering depending on very subtle lip pressure etc, unlike the piano for instance, where the note you hit is the note that sounds) --- is that I sounded a different not than the one I wanted for the Britten but, a good improviser that I am, I worked my way to may starting point, and no problem.

--- Abrazos,
Francisco Huneeus
Editorial Cuatro Vientos
"Haciendo mundo libro por libro"

Go to the review that inspired this letter

Did you write that poem about the turtles? Are you Ralph? You carry my father's name.

We had family settle in your area and I have a book just coming out ... with a San Diego surfer in it.

I loved the poem about the turtles.

--- Barbara J Gill

§     §     §

Dear Barbara:

Yes, we are RALPH. At least today. And we hope you are talking about "Hurricane Fred" .

Alas the author, Pete Winslow, died 35 years ago, in Pleasanton, CA, of all places, of a heart-attack, age 42.

For years his poem has been one of our favorites.

--- Lolita Lark

Ms. Lark,

Having only recently read the review of my book by Ingatio Schwartz I would like to point out a number of factual errors in his mighty inciteful missive:

    1. "What more can you say about a pot or vase-maker except that here we have an artist trying to express himself or herself with clay and fire and form."

Apparently Mr. Schwartz needs no information about pottery or potters since he obviously knows everything about both. Or maybe he knows nothing of either. Mr. Schwartz simply indicates his ignorance with this blithe statment.

    2. "To divide the book into nineteen chapters with such ridiculous titles as "Bowled Over" or "Lip Sync" or "Pour It On" is gilding the lily. In fact, we looked around for a pot with a gilded lily fired into it so we could compare it to the text but there were none. The closest we could come to were a couple of tea-pots by the author, but they turned out to be as convoluted and not so inspiring, much like his words."

Obviously, Mr. Schwartz has no sense of light-heartedness or sense of humor. And since, according to Mr. Schwartz, nothing of value can be said about a pot then I wonder why he looks for a gilded pot. Perhaps for Mr. Schwartz only gilded pots speak. (Or at least perhaps those are the only ones he can hear.)

Furthermore, I have only one object portrayed in the book and it is certainly not "convoluted" in design. Perhaps he's trying to impress his audience by using a word does not apply to my work.... Then again, perhaps Mr. Schwartz does not know the meaning of that particular word.

    3. "Some of the pots and plates and vessels presented here are tedious or overwrought but there are a few that delight the eye. We are especially enamored of the delicate white bowls of Karen Thuesen Massaro, several works by Jack Troy that manage to create a magically involuted gold/red/grey-blue color, and an elegant lidded jar by Anne Fallis Elliott."

Perhaps Mr. Schwarz has no tedious pots in his cupboard. However, I doubt it. But I can assure you that I don't. And if anything is overwrought it is certainly not the pots illustrated but Mr. Schwarz's observations. I would suspect in regard to a sense of taste about pottery that, assuredly, based upon this smug review his taste is less than well educated. In fact, I would suggest he knows nothing about pottery. And that would imply that he didn't even read this book.

Lastly, if there is nothing significant to be written about pottery then he should have followed his own advice and declined to write about my book. He certainly added nothing to the conversation about contemporary pots. (Also, there is no "red" in Jack Troy's piece. Perhaps Mr. Schwartz should have an eye exam. And Anne Fallis Elliott's covered jar is by no means "elegant".)

And by the way, who is this we. Is Mr. Schwarz schizophrenic as well? It appears he needs more than one appointment with doctors.

I recommend you publish authors who have an inkling of their subject before they allowed to put ink to paper and certainly before you publish such mealy mouthed rubbish.

--- Kevin A. Hluch

Go to the review in question

Send us e-mail


Go Home

Go to the most recent RALPH